Naming Conventions – Think this through!

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As technology professionals, we need to be organized. For those of us who support clients, like my business does, or for those of us dealing with larger networks, this topic is even more important.

For example, any client that we’ve walked into that had an existing network administered / supported by someone other than us, had some sort of naming convention that made no sense. I’ll give you an example from last month:

SERV
NNUI1xx4
NOOIPy1
1818windows
xpwindowszzzz19

That may look like I made it up, but I’m being 100% serious. The first name obviously belonged to the server. Then there were about a dozen workstations, all named in some strange fashion that didn’t seem to make any sense whatsoever (with 4 exact examples listed above).

In the real world of IT, I’ve seen this countless times. Naming conventions that are either ridiculously complicated so they’re impossible to keep track of, or some random hodgepodge of seemingly random nonsense. Before you go and decide on a naming convention, especially if you’re overhauling a network or setting up a new one, think about what makes sense. The convention can be as simple as a numbering scheme, or it can be as complicated as to include the organization’s name, computer location, operating system, etc.

Here are a few examples of good naming conventions. Pretend the organization we’re deploying for is named “venus”:

VENUS-1-FLOOR1-WINDOWS7
VENUS-1
VENUS-1-SALESMGR

So company name – computer number (sequential) – physical location – operating system type
Or simply company name – computer number (sequential)
Or company name – computer number (sequential) – employment position

Avoid putting an actual person’s name into the convention, because employees / users change frequently, and you don’t want to be changing computer names all the time.

In addition to this, your naming convention can also help you in creating your network diagram (we’ll talk about those in the next post).

Make sure you think these things through, especially as the networks get larger. Remember, the more well thought out your naming convention is, the less likely you will need to change it later on, which could be a massive hassle.

Author

Martin Lehner

Martin Lehner is an technology professional working for an IT services firm in Whitehorse, Yukon (Canada). He has been working in the technology field for over a decade. With a degree in Business Admin and numerous industry certifications, Martin leads a team of IT professionals that provide third party support for clients. Originally starting a company to offer web development services, Martin quickly realized that clients wanted the entire spectrum of technology services. When Martin is not at work (which is not often, since his company offers 24/7 support), he is busy at home spending time with his family.

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